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Married real estate couple faces fraud, conspiracy charges

Fraud is not rare, but fraud alleging that licensed real estate agents broke real estate laws in a contract pertaining to their own home IS quite rare.


Couple charged with fraud and conspiracy

The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force at the U.S. Department of Justice has charged a Nevada couple with conspiracy and fraud for making false statements to Wells Fargo Bank in order to get it to approve a short sale on their home.

At the time of the alleged crime, Cynthia Hosbrook at Realty ONE Group had been an actively licensed real estate agent since 2000, but her status is now listed as inactive, and her husband Robert Hosbrook, who was licensed in 2009 is now listed as “closed” due to having expired in October 2010. The two are accused of using a relative as a straw buyer to purchase their residence in March 2010, when they were both actively licensed and therefore aware of general real estate laws.

Court documents claim the Hosbrooks falsified documents, reporting to Wells Fargo that their home would be sold in a short sale at arm’s length between two unrelated party and that no party was familial or business associates, and there was no agreement that the seller would remain in the property as a renter. But what allegedly took place was a relative falsely signed a fraudulent title company form in July 2010 stating that the relative would reside in the house, which the Feds say the Hosbrooks knew was false.

The couple faces fines up to $1 million on each count and could be penalized with up to 30 years in prison. They will appear in court this week to answer to charges.

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The United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Nevada said in a statement that this is “part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.”

Further, they note that the task force is comprised of 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices, 20 federal agencies, as well as state and local partners. The FFETF has filed over 10,000 financial fraud cases in the past three years and “Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.”

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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